Category Archives: Pocket Knives

TSA’s Pocket Knife Ban: The Blow-by-Blow

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Members of the Association of Flight Attendants protest TSA’s pocket knife rule change

March 6, 2013, may have been the most newsworthy day for pocket knives in history.

On that date, the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) announced that it would be allowing small pocket knives (under 2.36 inches) on planes.

The policy change, which brought the U.S. in step with regulations across most of the world, was seen by knife owners as not only a personal victory, but also a step toward a more sensible and effective policy for TSA.

In addition to allowing small knives on a plane, the rule reversal also meant that individuals would be permitted to carry hockey sticks and golf clubs on board.

TSA officials cited the low risk of these items to passenger safety and the time-consuming task of searching for them as the reason for the policy change.

“The focus is on what could present catastrophic damage to the aircraft,” said David Castelveter, a TSA spokesman.

Backlash Erupts Over Pocket Knives On Planes

The rule change, which was result of significant lobbying by knife advocacy groups such as The American Knife and Tool Institute, was quickly the target of harsh criticism from a number of different groups.

The most vehement objection came from the Association of Flight Attendants (AFA), who characterized the decision as one that makes both airline employees and passengers less secure.

The organization started an online petition, No Knives On Planes.com,  and recently filed a grievance with the TSA, stating that “permitting knives in the cabin is an unnecessary risk to the traveling public.”

Member of Congress from both parties also vowed opposition to allowing knives on planes.

New York Senator Charles Schumer blasted the decision in a radio interview with a local station.

“You don’t have to have a PhD in physics, you don’t have to be Albert Einstein to know that these items are dangerous.” he said.

Family members of 9/11 victims were also angry

TSA Backs Down in Wake of Boston Marathon Bombings

While the AFA and other organizations decried the decision, a number of transportation safety experts, journalists and policymakers supported the change.

In a article for the libertarian publication Reason, J.D. Tuccille, blasted the AFA for its opposition. Tuccile  noted, as many others had, that there were a number of other equally harmful, if not more dangerous items that would be allowed in board, but weren’t drawing the same criticism.

I hesitate to point this out for fear of sending the flight attendants’ association into an organizational panic, but the same TSA notice allowing for small knives also allows novelty bats, pool cues and golf clubs.

Honestly, in a bar fight, I’m reaching for the pool cue, not my Leatherman micra.

It’s also been pointed out by many that TSA currently allows pointed scissors with blades up to four inches long, knitting needles and screwdrivers as long as seven inches, and glass bottles, all of which can easily be transformed into a deadly weapon.

Lastly, many cited the fact that since all cockpits are now fortified, it would be impossible to hijack a plane using a pocket knife.

It appeared that, despite the opposition, TSA would go ahead and begin allowing pocket knives on planes starting April 25.

Yet, on April 23, two days before the new rule would go into effect, TSA announced that it would delay the change while considering additional input from airline companies, passenger advocates and other stakeholders.

Many suggested that in addition to the backlash, the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon may have also swayed TSA to move more cautiously.

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Win a Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Multi-Tool!

Bear GryllsBear Grylls is a survivalist stud.  He jumps out of planes, eats eyeballs, swims with alligators and hurls himself into freezing, ice water.  He does pretty much every badass thing possible and he does it all in style, which is why he needs badass equipment all the time.

The Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Multi-Tool

Enter the Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Multi-Tool, a 12-part multi-tool that’s as rugged as Bear.

This all-in-one offers 12 total components: needle nose pliers, both fine-edge and serrated knives, saw, Phillips screwdriver, small and medium flat drivers, lanyard ring, bottle opener, can opener, scissors and wire cutters.

So,  if necessary, you can pry open a can of tuna, remove a splinter, cut through wire, saw through a rope, unscrew something, unscrew something else, cut a bandage and then, to celebrate everything you accomplished, pop open a cold beer—all with one tool!

The multi-tool is also light, weighing under 9 ounces, and its spring-loaded jaw makes it easy for one-handed use. In addition, it comes with a sweet nylon sheath and a Bear Grylls’ pocket survival guide, which has survival basics designed to help keep you alive if you are stranded in the wilderness.

This last feature got me thinking: What happens when Bear Grylls needs survival advice?  Who does he call, the survival gods? Well, maybe he calls you, yeah that’s right, you.

How to Win a Bear Grylls’ Ultimate Multi-Tool

If you want to win this multi-tool all you have to do is advise Bear on how to use his multi-tool to get out of the following situation, which, considering his reputation, is totally realistic.

Bear is standing on a rock in the middle of the Amazon River wearing nothing but camouflage briefs. On one bank there is a nest full of anacondas. On the other, there is a vicious-looking jaguar that hasn’t eaten in weeks. The river is full of piranhas.

Bear has possession of the following things:  a coconut, a monkey, two 16-ounce Budweiser bottles and 10 palm leaves, in addition to his Ultimate Multi-Tool with 12 components. Give Bear advice on how to escape to safety by entering your answer in the comment field below.

You must submit your entry (and you can only submit one) prior to Friday 10 p.m. Central Time.  Then, we’ll pick our top three favorites and publish them on the blog for readers to vote on. Be creative.  Be imaginative.  Good luck!

Buying Knives at the Chiang Mai Night Bazaar

Knives at Chiang Mai Knife MarketCHIANG MAI, ThailandThe Chiang Mai night bazaar  is a good place to buy a light-brown Chang Beer tank top for $6.  There are also numerous silk robes for sale in the same price range, in case you’re looking for something more modest.

If you fancy neither of these items, then you can choose from the following: fake Rolex watches, ostrich-leather wallets (I have two), knock-off Tiffany jewelry, statues of the Buddha, cowboy hats, necklaces, flower-shaped lampshades, boxing shorts, or if you want to drop out of reality for a few weeks, the entire series of “The Sopranos.”

I walked through hundreds of these stands last night, buying nothing, until eventually I stumbled onto a cart stocked with an armory of knives, swords, throwing stars and machetes run by a very small man who drives a hard bargain and rarely tells the truth.

I had already been burned by buying counterfeit knives once on the Thailand-Burma border, where I bought a fake Dark Ops Stratofighter Stileto for $15.  For this reason, I wasn’t particularly interested in buying any pocket knives, especially after the merchant selling them told me that a Browning pocket knife, which had USA clearly written on it, was produced in a village 10 km away.

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Washington Firefighter Designs World’s Biggest Pocket Knife

Jake Knife
Size matters when choosing a pocket knife, at least according to Washington firefighter Tom Horne. I recently stumbled onto an article about Horne, who has constructed what may be the world’s largest pocket knife, the Jake Knife.

The Jake Knife has a blade that is nine inches long when closed, 16 inches when opened.  It’s made from stainless steel and has a liner lock.  According to Horne’s website, it’s capable of doing some pretty heavy-duty stuff, like:

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The Lowdown on Survival Knives

Dark Ops Survival Knife
Dark Ops Survival Knife

A pocket knife is adequate for a number of outdoor tasks, but if you’re a bona fide survivalist, a serious hunter or a Rambo-enthusiast, you’ll want a bigger, burlier, survival blade. Here’s a look at how the survival knife changed over history and what it represents today.

Survival knife prehistoric history

The survival knife has likely existed in some form for thousands of years. When German hikers discovered Otzi the Iceman, Europe’s oldest mummy, he had a flint knife in tow.  He likely used that knife to skin animals, start fires, build shelters and defend himself from everything from bears to human attackers.

Jim Bowie, survival knife inventor, fighting machine.

It’s difficult to imagine a historic figure manlier than Jim Bowie. Whether he was operating as a backwoods pirate in the swamps of Louisiana or slaying Mexicans with his back to the wall at the Alamo, Bowie was one of the toughest knife-wielding renegades of the 19th century and a key contributor to the legacy of the survival knife.

In 1930, Bowie designed the most famous version of his Bowie Knife, a monstrous 9.5-inch blade similar to a butcher knife.  The knife blade curved at the end, making it especially apt for skinning dead animals; its straighter section was ideal for chopping or cutting smaller items.

However, the most infamous use of the Bowie knife was combat.  In 1827, Bowie was a principal at a duel, later termed the sandbar incident, that ended in him being attacked and shot. Bowie defended himself with his Bowie knife, disemboweling one man and nearly slicing off the arm of another.

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How Not to Get Your Pocket Knife Jacked by TSA

It happens to thousands of knife owners every year. You’re headed through security at the airport.  You’ve taken your shoes off, removed your belt and diligently placed your laptop in the required bin.  Then, as you’re walking through the metal detector, you hear the shrill beeping that signifies that something on your person is not allowed and you remember, suddenly, that you’ve completely forgotten about your pocket knife.

According to a 2009 CNN report, airports confiscate an estimated 13 million items annually. One of the most common are pocket knives.  Many Americans carry a pocket knife everyday, either as part of their key chain or as a work tool, and too often they don’t remember to put it in their checked baggage.  So, what can you do to avoid getting you knife swiped by TSA?  Here are some tips.

Pack your knife in your checked bag

According to TSA guidelines, the only knives you can carry on are ones with plastic or rounded blades (butter knives).  However, almost any knife can be transported to your destination, if it’s checked.  Want to bring your sushi knife on Christmas vacation?  You can check it.  Just bought a new samurai sword that you don’t want to part with?  Check it and you’re fine.

You can also check meat cleavers, sabers, ice picks, hatchets, axes and saws. What does all this mean?  When in doubt, check your bag.  Just remember, if you’re checking a sword, saber, dagger or other big blade, it needs to be properly sheathed.

But, what if you forget to check and get nabbed at security with your blade?

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Swiss Army knife used to amputate man’s legs

Everyone knows that the Swiss Army knife is a universal and multipurpose tool that can be used for pretty much anything. However, this week it was used for something that even the creators might not have guessed: an amputation.

After the devastating earthquake in Christchurch, New Zealand, where nearly 100 people have been confirmed dead, hundreds of others were trapped beneath rubble and debris.

One of these trapped people, only identified as Brian, had his legs pinned beneath a collapsed building and needed to have both his legs amputated or he would have died.

According to Dr. Stuart Philip, who oversaw the amputation, a Swiss Army knife was the only tool available:

“There wasn’t really any other option. Essentially the procedure was performed with a Swiss Army knife. I know that sounds terrible, but that’s all we had,” Philip told the Dominion Post newspaper.

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6 ways to use a pocket knife

The pocket knife is an iconic tool carried by outdoorsman, craftsman and everyday men and women across the world.  The reason for its popularity is clear; it’s simply one of the most functional tools available today.  Here are a few great uses for carrying a pocket knife.

Opening Boxes, Letters, Packages, etc.

There’s nothing worse than spending half of Christmas morning watching your brother and law struggle helplessly with a Land’s End box. Of course, if you were carrying your trusty pocket knife, you would be spared this annoyance and could move on to other gift-giving.

With their variety of blades, pocket knives are excellent tools for opening boxes.  Don’t want to sully your hands opening letters?  Impress your co-workers at the office by opening them up with your pocket knife.

Camping

Camping without a knife is unforgivable.  From shaving down kindling to roasting hot dogs on the fire, you need a pocket knife.  Of course, there’s always a chance you might have to fight off a rogue bear with your pocket knife as well, like this guy did.

A pocket knife with tweezers can also come in handy if you’re out in the wild and end up with a tick or a fat, nasty splinter.

Fishing

This one couldn’t be more obvious.  A fisherman without a pocket knife isn’t a fisherman;  he’s just a lonely guy drinking beer next to a lake. From cutting line to removing hooks, a trusty pocket knife is mandatory for any fisherman.  Plus, if the fish aren’t biting, at least you can use the bottle opener on your knife to pop open a cold brew.

First Aid

From cutting bandages to fashioning tourniquets, you never know when a pocket knife can come in handy.  They’re also great for freeing hostages who have been bound in rope, though hopefully you’ll never encounter that.

On a more serious note, if someone does get injured while you’re outdoors, a pocket knife can also be used to carve messages to other parties along the path.

Peeling Fruit

This one I swiped from a great post on the blog the Art of Manliness. There’s really nothing tougher-looking than sitting on your stoop and gnawing on an apple you peeled with you own blade.

Protection

A pocket knife doesn’t make much of a weapon, nor is it designed to be one, but if you do find yourself in a sticky situation it may be enough to fend of or at least slow down an attacker.